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Re: RFC: Better formatting for long descriptions

On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 20:08:43 +0100
Julien Cristau <jcristau@debian.org> wrote:

> On Fri, 2009-03-20 at 19:03 +0000, Neil Williams wrote:
> > On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 14:45:09 +0100 (CET)
> > Andreas Tille <tillea@rki.de> wrote:
> > 
> > > I tried to find a clear advise how to reasonable format lists inside long
> > > descriptions of packages.  The only thing I know is that lines with two
> > > leading spaces is considered verbose. 
> > 
> > Packages.gz is already 26Mb - I'd like to find ways to shorten the
> > package descriptions, not lengthen it. :-(
> Yeah, I'm sure being consistent about whether we use 2 or 3 spaces for
> indented lists in descriptions is going to make that file a lot harder
> to compress.

I'd like to get the longest descriptions out of Packages.gz completely,
so encouraging their retention it not ideal. It's not about whether 2
or 3 spaces should be used, it's about whether such detailed content
deserves to be in Packages.gz in the first place.

If there is going to be discussion on standardising on some form of
indentation, it's worth considering whether there isn't a better way of
providing the data itself to achieve other benefits. Indents would need
changes in all affected packages - it might be easier to provide a
different means that also reduces the size of the Packages.gz file
at the same time so that packages only need to be changed once.

My comment for this RFC is, therefore, that better formatting for long
descriptions should include a review of whether the long description
deserves to be that long in the first place, whether the long
description merely duplicates data already available via debtags and
whether the long description should be trimmed for the package in
question *as well as* standardising the formatting of what remains.

Better can be construed to mean more - I merely want maintainers to
consider whether better actually means less.


Neil Williams

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